EU’s Barroso urges Albanians to unite over reforms
TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The European Commission’s outgoing president has urged Albanian politicians to set their differences aside and focus on the reforms required in the country’s bid for European Union membership.
Jose Manuel Barroso’s visit to Tirana on Monday follows the EU decision last week to grant Albania candidate membership status and previously rejected similar requests three times.
Candidate status is considered the first major step in Albania’s long and uncertain path to full membership in the 28-nation bloc.
In an address to parliament, Barroso urged the Socialist-led government and the opposition Democratic Party to focus on EU-demanded efforts to tackle organized crime and corruption and bring Albania’s judiciary and administration up to European standards.
Barroso also warned that Albania’s economy remains “vulnerable” and said structural reforms are necessary to ensure long-term growth.